Nov 1 2009

In Afghan Debate, Few Antiwar Op-Eds

Elite papers marginalize public opposition

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/The U.S. Army

The Obama administration, having increased the number of troops in Afghanistan by 21,000 in March, is engaged in a contentious internal discussion about whether to send an additional 40,000 more. There is growing anger over Afghan civilian deaths, and July and August were the deadliest months for U.S. soldiers since the U.S. invaded in 2001 (AP, 8/28/09). Meanwhile, polls throughout 2009 show a U.S. public divided on whether the war is even worth fighting, let alone in need of escalation. In three surveys since July, the AP/GfK poll has reported that at least 53 percent of respondents say they oppose […]

Sep 22 2009

NYT Slams Single-Payer

Fails to include advocates among 'diverse' experts

The New York Times devoted some rare space on September 20 to discussing single-payer (or Medicare-for-all) health reform. The result? A one-sided account of why such a system couldn’t work. With a headline like “Medicare for All? ‘Crazy,’ ‘Socialized’ and Unlikely,” readers probably had a sense of what the Times had in mind with the piece, which was the latest in a series titled “Prescriptions: Making Sense of the Healthcare Debate.” Reporter Katharine Seelye wrote: “Extending Medicare to all has seemed like a good idea to many–except to those who call it ‘socialized medicine.’ Or crazy.” The Times seemed to […]

Jul 17 2009

Gerald LeMelle on Obama in Africa, Katha Pollitt on Caitlin Flanagan in Time


Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Barack Obama’s recent trip to Africa gave the press corps a chance to opine predictably on Obama’s “unique role” as a “son of Africa” who was specially suited to “tell African leaders hard truths”. It should’ve also been a chance for a serious look at the substance of U.S. Africa policy. How’d they do on that score? We’ll hear from Gerald LeMelle of Africa Action. Also on the show: In her Time magazine cover story, “Why Marriage Matters,” Caitlin Flanagan argues for “intact” marriage because there is “no other single force causing as much […]

Jun 2 2009

Misquoting Sotomayor

Media let right-wing critics frame debate

At this point, the confirmation battle over Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor will hinge in part on whether the media want to fact-check her critics. So far, the press is largely failing. Right-wing critics and politicians have been circulating comments Sotomayor made in 2001 at UC Berkeley. One quote has been replayed endlessly: “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.” (Sometimes the quote is replayed without the “I would hope that” qualifier–e.g., NBC Nightly News, […]

May 1 2009

Stan Karp on No Child Left Behind, Robert Greenwald on Rethink Afghanistan


Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: No Child Left Behind may be up for reconsideration in Congress soon, but if current coverage of national math and reading scores is an indication, media coverage will need to get a lot deeper to be useful. We’ll hear from Stan Karp of Rethinking Schools about what questions ought to be asked. Also on the show: With an online campaign, and the “real time” documentary, Rethink Afghanistan, Robert Greenwald and his colleagues at Brave New Films are trying to break through the media embargo that excludes true critics of the Afghanistan war from U.S. […]

May 1 2009

The Trumped-Up Case Against I.F. Stone

Looking for Izzy in all the wrong places

IF Stone

For years, the right has tried to tar I.F. Stone, one of left journalism’s greatest heroes and an icon of independent reporting, as a spy for the Soviet Union (Nation, 8/31/06). Now two right-wing historians and an ex-KGB officer are back with more assertions that Stone secretly worked for the Soviet intelligence service. Harvey Klehr, John Earl Haynes and Alexander Vassiliev published an article on Commentary’s website (5/09), adapted from a new book, headlined “I.F. Stone, Soviet Agent—Case Closed.” “Until now,” they wrote, “the evidence was equivocal and subject to different interpretations. No longer.” What is this case-closing, unequivocal evidence? […]

Apr 9 2009

Frontline Responds on Sick Around America

In the wake of a FAIR Action Alert (4/6/09), Frontline has responded to critics of its documentary Sick Around America, defending the film’s focus on mandatory private health insurance and its exclusion of the single-payer option. (Frontline‘s full response follows.) In an email response to FAIR (4/7/09), Frontline characterized FAIR’s charge that the documentary presented mandatory for-profit healthcare as the only alternative to the current U.S. healthcare system as “untrue” because the film’s narrator acknowledged that “other developed countries bar health insurance companies from making profits on basic care and cap their administrative costs.” While it’s true that FAIR’s alert […]

Apr 7 2009

Frontline Distorts Global Healthcare Options

PBS show treats mandatory for-profit insurance as the only alternative

The March 31 documentary by PBS‘s Frontline, Sick Around America, treated mandatory for-profit insurance coverage as the only alternative to the current U.S. healthcare system–even though the documentary was a sequel to a 2008 Frontline special, Sick Around the World (4/15/08), that examined several publicly funded healthcare models, including Taiwan’s single-payer system. In a segment of Sick Around America subtitled “How to Get a Fairer System,” Frontline narrator Will Lyman asked Karen Ignagni, a spokesperson from the insurers’ trade group America’s Health Insurance Plans, why the U.S. couldn’t guarantee coverage for all like other developed countries do. After Ignagni responded […]